Do you avoid business databases and reference books because you think they are packed full of financial ratios, P&L statements, or tax laws that will make your head spin? If so, you may be missing out on some interesting and useful information.
Although the word business originally meant simply the “quality or state of being busy,” over time it has acquired a monetary connotation, and is now generally considered “the activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money,” but not necessarily for profit. Thus, business encompasses almost everything we purchase, use, view, and participate in every day, and business resources cover everything from your morning coffee (Folger’s is the best-selling brand according to Business Rankings Annual, found on Table 15 in Ekstrom) to local banks, hospitals, and schools (see Louisville Business First Big Book of Lists 2012) to television shows (NCIS edged out Sunday Night Football for the most viewers during the 2012-2013 season according to Market Share Reporter, also on Table 15 in Ekstrom).
Looking for an auto repair shop near UofL? Use the custom search option in ReferenceUSA’s U.S. Businesses Database. Select “General Automotive Repair Shops” from the Major Industry Group list under Business Type, and “Radius Search” under Geography. Enter UofL’s address or zip code with the desired distance to get names, phone numbers and addresses of the closest repair places.
Starting a job search? Learn more about various industries and potential employers by using links on the Industry Profiles & Overviews and Company Profiles & Directories pages of UofL’s business research guide. Then use the company news links to stay up to date for your interviews.
Want to know which large charities are the most efficient in terms of converting your donations to charitable services? Check out ”Charity All-Stars” and “50 Largest U.S. Charities, by the Numbers” in Forbes, which is available through Business Source Premier.
Shopping for a new phone? Read the latest Consumer Reports reviews, also available via Business Source Premier.
 “business, n.”. OED Online. September 2013. Oxford University Press. 7 November 2013 <http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/25229?redirectedFrom=business>.
 “business.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2013. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/business>.
By Samantha McClellan, Social Sciences Teaching and Faculty Outreach Librarian
As a researcher, you might notice that you’re seeing “data management plans” as a part of your grant requirements. Effective for proposals submitted on or after January 18, 2011, investigators are expected to share their data produced under an NSF (National Science Foundation) grant. These plans are increasingly becoming a part of other granting agencies’ requirements, including the NEH and NIH. Tools like the DMP Tool are being created to assist you in creating your data management plan.
Data management is an essential part of the research life cycle—this can mean the difference between getting a grant, preserving your data for the long-term, and the overall success of your research.
The Components of a Data Management Plan
Typical data management plans consist of the following:
- A description of the project
- A description of the data that will be produced
- How the data will be managed throughout
- Documentation about the data
- Plans for short-term data storage, backup, and security
- Legal and ethical issues
- Plans for access, sharing, and reuse of data
- Plans for data retention and disposal arrangements
- Plans for preservation and archiving
Why Manage your Data
Regardless of whether your funding agency requires a data management plan, following standard guidelines for managing your data can assist you in numerous ways:
- Save time: planning how you’ll manage your data will save you time throughout the research process.
- e.g. Standardize your file formats across the project and use sustainable file formats. Long-term access can become an issue as certain software become obsolete.
- Simplify: when you let a repository house (and potentially share) your data, they also get the housekeeping duties of managing the data.
- e.g. Rather than answering questions and requests for your data, repositories will do that for you.
- Preserve: by depositing your data in a repository, you’re ensuring that the data will be available to you and other researchers long-term.
- Data repositories exist to store, preserve, and provide access to your data.
- Research efficiency: when you document your data throughout the lifecycle, you are making it easier for you and others to find and understand your data in the future.
- e.g. Use directory and file naming conventions to avoid confusion amongst multiple researchers.
- Meet funder requirements: if this is standard practice for you, you’re already on your way to a solid data management plan! Many funders now require formal data management plans and/or that data produced under their grants be made publicly available.
- Facilitate new discoveries: sharing data reinforces scientific inquiry, which can lead to new discoveries. This also helps in avoiding duplication of data by allowing multiple researchers to utilize the same data set.
- The open access movement exists to share and facilitate new knowledge.1
Consider the library a partner in the data management process. Librarians are interested in data management because we are interested in the short- and long-term preservation of raw data that can be used to create new and interesting ways to understand things. If you have any questions about managing your data or creating a data management plan, please refer to the UofL Libraries Data Management research guide or contact the Social Sciences Teaching & Faculty Outreach Librarian at email@example.com.
1 Crummett, C., Graham, A., McNeill, K., Sheehan, D., & Stout, A. (2013). MIT Libraries Data Management and Publishing. Retrieved from http://libraries.mit.edu/guides/subjects/data-management/
So, that big search box on many of the University Libraries webapges… you’ve used it to find stuff, but did you know that it can help you cite what you find? Just click the Cite/Export link in the top right corner as you’re looking at the record for a book, article, or other material you’ve found. Then choose the citation style that you’re using.
If you find an item of interest, you can share it with others using the Share button. Items can be shared via Facebook, Google, Twitter, Pinterest, and any number of other social media sites. This button is located to the right of the Cite/Export link mentioned above.
With WorldCat Local, you can also create a personal account and create lists for yourself. For example, I have created a list for myself of items that I’d like to read someday but don’t have time to get to right now. Lists can be public or private. In addition, you can track other people’s lists, save searches of your own, add tags to items of interest, and create a profile that can be either private or public as well. If you are a researcher who uses more than one library, you can add these institutions to your favorite libraries list. The sign in feature is located in the far upper right corner of the screen.
What if you need a children’s book in Spanish? Start with a keyword search, say for “girls” because you want a book about a little girl. Once you have the list of results, you can narrow using what are called “facets” or Refine Your Search options on the left side of the search screen. Click on the facet for “Spanish” under language and then click on the facet for “juvenile”. Voila! You find 3 books about girls in Spanish that UofL owns!
Are you writing a final paper this week? Do you have questions about grammar and punctuation? Is the Writing Center closed? The University Libraries subscribes to the online version of both the 15th and 16th editions of the Chicago Manual of Style, an often used source for questions such as…
- Should I use which or that in my sentence?
- How do I punctuate a sentence with a URL in it?
- When should I use who versus whom?
- When should I use a semi-colon (my all-time favorite punctuation mark—it marks a pause, but one that has shades of hesitancy with a dose of elitism)
There is a search box in the upper right hand corner of the screen where you can search for your specific question of interest. Using fewer search terms works better.
The Manual can also be enjoyed by grammar-junkies who find it fascinating to read about the use of more esoteric aspects of the written word such as when nouns followed by gerunds may take the possessive form or when it might be appropriate to intensify an uncomparable adjective. Or perhaps one of your colleagues has a particular grammar or punctuation proclivity that you would like to address such as is it summer or Summer?
Also fun is to peruse the Q&A section of the website where the editors of the Style Manual provide witty and informative responses to even the most trivial questions of grammar and style.
For more information about this resource or another resource provided by the University Libraries, contact the Ekstrom Library Reference and Information Literacy Department at 852-6747 or use the reference question form.
Do you use Google Translate? The Oxford Language Dictionaries Online, available from the University Libraries Databases A-Z list offers some advantages over Google Translate, especially for beginning language learners.
- The Oxford dictionaries are authoritative. No “voting” on whether the translation is good or not. They are compiled by language experts.
- Phrases! It’s fine to know the meaning of a single word. Google translate works decently for that. When you’re learning a language though, it is super helpful to know the phrases that often accompany a particular word, especially when they color the meaning of that word or when the word is not used literally. For example, Google will tell you that “gesicht” in German means “face.” The Oxford Language Dictionary will tell you that “solche Unhöflichkeit steht dir nicht zu Gesicht[e]” or “such impoliteness ill becomes you.” The translation of that phrase in Google: “Such rudeness does not become you to face.”
- Need to cite the word you translated? Oxford Language Dictionaries Online help you do that with the click of a button!
- The dictionaries contain important grammatical information for each language.
- Lists of useful phrases to use when you’re traveling!
The dictionaries also briefly summarize the history and current state of the language. U of L Libraries subscribes to Chinese, German, French, Italian, Russian, and Spanish dictionaries through this service.
Have questions about this resource or any other library resource? Call 852-6747 or chat with us at Ask-a-Librarian.
Conducting a comprehensive literature review for a dissertation, thesis, or large-scale research project can be an arduous and overwhelming task. At the library, we receive a number of common questions about this process:
What databases should I search? Have I located all the influential studies relevant to my topic? What about the less-influential studies? Is it possible I’m missing an obscure article from an unknown journal that will completely alter the course of my research?
In other words, have I found everything?
While literature searches inevitably involve a certain amount of, well, uncertainty, we’ve put together a new research guide to help you strategize, organize, and, perhaps most importantly, stay in the good graces of a perpetually grumpy dissertation director.
Our guide suggests key library resources (as well as Google Scholar, which can be especially useful for interdisciplinary research), offers helpful search tips (do you know how to tell who has been citing your favorite article?), and lists some options for managing the search process (EndNote! EndNote! EndNote!). All of this stuff can make your life easier and your research more enjoyable and productive. Seriously.
But what about that lingering question: have you found absolutely everything of relevance? Given that new potential sources are being published by the minute (or faster) in a rapidly expanding information universe, it’s always possible to miss something. However, you can alleviate your anxiety by considering the following questions:
- Have I searched all the major databases relevant to my area of interest?
- Am I seeing the same authors/sources over and over again?
- Have I checked through the bibliographies/references of the sources I’ve found?
- Am I keeping track of new publications through database/journal alerts and regular communication with other researchers?
- Have I talked to a librarian?
It might seem a little self-serving (sorry!), but that last questions is especially important. Librarians at UofL are more than happy to meet with researchers in any discipline to discuss resources and strategies. It’s not just our job—we love research! You can request an appointment with a librarian on at Ask a Librarian. Good luck with the search!
Reading scholarly articles is not the easiest thing to do at times. The figure above offers tips on how to read these works for clarity. I’ll discuss a few of those tips below.
Read the Abstract
One thing that can get in the way of reading scholarly works is the technical, specialized language such as, “convergence culture” or “epistemological framework” (Williams, 2008; Yawson, 2012). As a reader without much background knowledge on these terms, it is easy to get lost in the wording. Second, scholarly articles are also quite lengthy. We’re talking 15, 20, 30 plus pages at the minimum. Certainly, the thought of having to read such laborious literature to complete a 5 to 10 page paper would lead many of us toward the Most-Convenient-Article-With Fewer-Pages-Exit.
Tip: Reading the abstract is a quick way to find out the main purpose of the article. This can be a big time-saver!
Check the References List
Commonly, at the end of an article is a list. These lists are also known as, Notes, Works Cited, References, or Bibliographies. As an undergraduate, I regularly did away with these pages, thinking, “Well, this is one or two fewer pages I need to print.” Seriously, what did I really need with them? Overtime, I learned the references were useful in directing me to related sources.
Tip: References are also a great way to get ideas on structuring your written topic. Say you are considering writing a paper on Galileo. There are many stories you could explore from a biographical sketch of his life to Galileo’s Inquisition to Galileo’s role in the Scientific Revolution. Taking note of what others have written on the topic can help you decide to focus on something similar or chart a new course.
Use Section Headings
Finally, there are the journal names: International Journal of Technology and Design Education or Social Behavior and Composition or Journal of General Internal Medicine. These are not likely to be titles many of us encounter daily. Therefore, the lack of familiarity with the type of subjects covered in these journals can make it challenging to recognize if the article is worth the time commitment.
Tip: When you find an article scan through the section headings; these will be in bold font. The headings reveal the major subjects of emphasis addressed by the author. They also provide insight about topics covered in each journal. What you can do from here is begin narrowing selections to those journals that have more information on the topic.
Essentially, these tips can help you avoid overlooking scholarly articles that can enhance your writing in that research paper. Certainly, there is no substitute for reading the article in full. But, when reading scholarly articles that make you want to head toward the nearest exit–Wait!
Try some of the tips mentioned to help you identify Relevant sources in a timely manner!References: Yawson, R. M. (2012). An epistemological framework for nanoscience and nanotechnology literacy. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 1-14. Williams, B. (2008). “What south park character are you?”: Popular culture, literacy, and online performances of identity. Computers and Composition, 25(1), 24-39.
Have you ever had to find a journal and when you did, later discovered it was a magazine? Or, maybe the reverse happened. Well, even when you have one of them in hand determining whether a source is a magazine, a scholarly journal, or even a trade journal can be tricky. Keep in mind, each is written with specific readers in mind, from the general public to educators like your professors who use scholarly journals for their research. And, some fall into more than one category.
As you progress in your studies more class assignments may require you to use sources that are scholarly. However, that does not mean magazines have no value in the landscape of higher education; as they are useful for finding current news information. Below is a table that offers guidance on some of the differences between each.
- Magazines, journals and newspapers are all referred to as periodicals or serials.
- Periodical = Serial = a publication that comes out regularly (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) that uses a numbering system that is intended to continue indefinitely
While there are number of ways to access these sources in the UofL Libraries, you may want to start your search on Journal Finder. If you need more help call the Ekstrom Reference Desk at (502) 852-6747.
Professors often steer students away from sources like, Google and Wikipedia, because of the likelihood in finding unreliable information. Instead, they want you to use things called, “peer reviewed” sources. But, why?
Well, peer reviewed sources are works produced by people just like your professors–they are educators and scholars. And, they are known by other names like, scholarly, refereed, and academic journals. So, what is the benefit of using peer reviewed sources when you can quickly put something together from a Google search?
Here are some ways using peer-reviewed sources can pay off in your academic life:
1. Build Your Reputation. Peer reviewed sources carry with them the reputation of being credible (legit) and reliable. How much more will your academic performance be considered as such when you utilize peer reviewed sources for research papers or presentations? It also demonstrates to your professors that you’ve taken the time to be critical about the types of sources utilized.
2. Graduate Studies Preparation. Much of the work done by graduate students requires finding evidenced-based research, empirical studies, and conducting literature reviews. The bulk of these types of sources are found in peer reviewed sources—Ka-ching!
3. Google Scholar-It! Yes, you can find peer-reviewed sources in the Libraries databases (e.g., JSTOR, Academic Search Premier). But, you don’t have to do away with Google as a student altogether. Try Google Scholar. Here you can find books and peer reviewed articles; many of them, are linked directly from the library’s databases. This can be a real time saver.
4. Make Decisions with Confidence. Peer reviewed sources are packed full of things like, charts and graphs. Then, there are References lists that can direct you to other sources on the topic. Even more, is the technical terminology that can help you as beginner researcher learn the lingo of the discipline. This level of comprehensiveness gives you confidence in being certain that the source is useful for what you need.
For more information about peer reviewed sources visit our Magazine or Journal? page.
Have you ever been walking along and suddenly think of something you need to add to your research paper, but by the time you get to your computer you can’t remember what it was? It happens to all of us. I get some of my best thoughts when I’m walking my dog and then poof! it’s gone.
If you’re carrying a smartphone you can always do a quick voice recording, but there’s new technology out there that can take it a step further. One program is Dragon Naturally Speaking, a speech recognition program that produces a text document for you. Then you can search your thoughts and edit them into your paper!
Even if you don’t have the cash to buy fancy programs like this you can still use the power of speech to jump start your research project. Just sit down with some kind of recording device and start talking. It’s a good way to find out what you know about the topic and what you still need to know without the stress of facing that blank computer screen.